Japan | Hakamada case underscores folly of maintaining death penalty

The Tokyo High Court’s decision on March 13 to grant a retrial for an 87-year-old man who spent decades on death row strongly shows that he was wrongly convicted. The retrial should be held immediately to provide a legal remedy for Iwao Hakamada. In granting the retrial in the high-profile case, the high court said reasonable doubt has arisen on the guilt of Hakamada. He was arrested on suspicion of murder in August 1966, two months after an executive of a miso-producing company and three of his family members were killed in what is now Shizuoka. Hakamada, who had worked at the miso company, spent most of his adult life in detention. His latest request for a retrial was filed 15 years ago.

Amputation Treatment

On Thursday February 14, Doctors in Al-Ribat University hospital in Khartoum-Sudan executed a court sentence of amputation of a man who was convicted of Brigandage. His right hand and left foot was cut off by doctors in the hospital. He is 30 years old and accused of robbery. According to the reports he stopped and robbed cars on the road threatening passengers with a rifle. It has been reported that this is the first time during past thirty years such a penalty (amputation) has been carried out in Sudan.

Sudan’s criminal law is based on Shari’a law. It should be mentioned that article 167 of Sudanese penal code of 1991 provides: Whoever threatens the public or troubles the security of the roads by menaces intending to commit an offence against human body, honor or property, provided the act is committed:-(a) Out of town, in land, sea or air or in town where help is difficult to get.(b) By use of arms or any instrument capable of causing harm or threat to cause such harm is said to commit Haraba.

Following that, article 168 states the punishment of Haraba as follow:

Whoever commits Haraba shall be punished with: - Execution or execution and thereafter crucifixion if his acts resulted in murder or rape (b) Amputation of the right hand and left foot if his act resulted in grievous bodily harm or theft of property which amounts to the required minimum (Nisab) for theft punishable with amputation (Sariqah Hadiya) (c) Imprisonment by way of banishment for a term which may not exceed seven years in cases not covered by paragraphs (a) and (b).

Sudan is a signatory to International covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Therefore it is obliged to eliminate laws and regulations inconsistent with Human Rights Laws. Amputation is a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment that should be removed from Sudan’s penal code. Universal Tolerance Organization asks the authorities in Sudan to reform such laws and respect fundamental human rights standards.

The most important question is how doctors could participate in such inhuman act. Doctors are said to protect people’s bodies, not to rip the body of a human a part. Doctors should not carry out such degrading punishments and safeguard human’s body and soul.

Source: Universal Tolerance Organization, March 3, 2013

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